Gantz: “We have to get to a stage where we integrate Haredim and Arabs into IDF”
During his visit to OTS’s Midreshet Lindenbaum , the Blue and White chairman referred to the relative minority in the representation of women on the party list, saying: “The list is growing rapidly and there are still women in the top ten”
Maariv staff | 15 January 2020
Benny Gantz, chairman of the Blue and White party, visited Midreshet Lindenbaum, a religious seminary for girls and part of the Ohr Torah Stone network, where he spoke to 200 students on Tuesday afternoon.
Also in attendance were Rabbi Dr. Katriel (Kenneth) Brander, President and Rosh HaYeshiva of the Ohr Torah Stone network, Rabbi Ohad Teharlev, head of Midreshet Lindenbaum’s Israeli programs, Yinon Ahiman, Ohr Torah Stone’s director general, and Blue and White Knesset members Yoaz Hendel, Chili Tropper and Tehila Friedman, who herself is a graduate of Midreshet Lindenbaum.
“We have just arrived from the City of David,” Gantz remarked, and what is happening in excavations there concerns news of the day from 2000 years ago, but here in the study hall you get to a deeper level than the news when discovering the roots of the Jewish people. The note I always place in the Western Wall is a prayer for peace but until peace comes, security must me ensured and the peace that matters most is the peace between us. When an enemy missile flies, it is not aimed at religious or secular, right-winger or leftist.”
Regarding a question that was asked regarding women’s representation in the Blue and White party, Gantz noted: “We have women in the top ten places on the list and if we reach forty-two seats, we will have four more. After the election, we will promote women in government offices and government affiliated enterprises.”
Gantz, when asked about running for prime minister without political experience, stated, “I am not free of mistakes, but know that I can head the state and advance a variety of issues as someone who as IDF chief of staff ran the largest organization in the country.” Later, Gantz expressed great appreciation for the seminary girls who choose to serve the state in prestigious IDF units or in national service in the civilian sector, adding that “we need to reach a point where everyone serves the people and the state – including the Haredim and Arabs. Civil service frameworks must be built into each community so that its needs align with the needs of the IDF as well as with other public needs.”
Rabbi Brander, President and Rosh HaYeshiva of Ohr Torah Stone, noted that “Today, the Jewish People need connection. Connection between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, between Right and Left, between the various religious factions – ultra-Orthodox, religious-national and even reform and conservative. As someone who has devoted most of his life to Israel’s security, and as someone who leads the Blue and White faction in the Knesset, I am sure that you understand the need to strengthen the connections between our various sectors. This connection begins with language – from ‘Shabbat’ and ‘Gefilte fish’; from bookcases containing Jewish and Israeli literature; from the writings of Herzl, Jabotinsky, Rav Kook, and Rav Soloveitchik – proponents of the Zionist dream past and present. If I may share with you a bracha: ‘May God give you the power to connect, to be a leader who can skillfully weave the threads that connect the diverse communities of Israel and our people.”
“Our view is that it is important and worthwhile to give space to a variety of opinions in our network of institutions,” Rabbi Brander added. “Everyone’s opinions should be acknowledged, and as soon as a discourse develops, even if our opinions differ, we learn that despite the existing differences, what unites us is greater that what separates us. It is important to remember that we are all brothers and we are all tasked with keeping the State of Israel and the people of Israel united.”
Rabbi Ohad Teharlev, head of the Israeli programs at Midreshet Lindenbaum said, “The Torah and the army came into the world together; the ‘pleasant paths’ of Torah came into the world together with the sword that injures and destroys. In our generation, there are two entities beyond dispute, where you meet yourself and your God: one is the beit midrash or study hall where the holy ark connects Jews of every description, and the other is the army and in mourning for those died sanctifying God’s name, both beyond controversy in Israeli society, where each person meets every other, himself, and God. Here in our study hall there are large windows that symbolize the dialogue and openness between what is happening inside the study hall and what is happening outside in Israeli society.”